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Lightbox Loves: The Pratfall Effect

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The Pratfall effect is a theory developed by psychologist Elliot Aronson in the 1960s, and according to the theory you can become more appealing or likeable by admitting or demonstrating your own flaws. The theory was discovered after an experiment where Aronson has recorded an actor answering a series of quiz questions. In one experiment group, participants saw the video where the actor simply answered most of the questions correctly. In the other group, participants saw the actor answer the exact same way but during the quiz he spilled a cup of coffee over his shirt. Boths groups were asked to rate the actor’s likeability and Aronson found that the participants found the clumsy actor more likeable.

This type of study has been replicated with different environments, from people rating other’s attractiveness, to during job interviews or when people are choosing which cookies look more appealing to them. All studies demonstrate the Pratfall effect and the appealing nature of authenticity.

Many brands have already used the Pratfall effect within their advertising, from Stella Artois’s ‘reassuringly expensive’ ads to own up to being more expensive that most pints, to KFC’s famous apology campaign where they changed ‘KFC’ TO ‘FCK’ to apologise for running out of chicken in 2018 using full page print ads. Buckley’s cough medicine ad in 1990 using the phrase “People swear by it. And at it. It tastes awful. And it works.” helped them become one of the leading cough and cold medicine brands in Canada.

The Pratfall effect can have the implications of honesty and fallibility, and by owning these flaws the consumer is less likely to think you are lying about the other messaging they see from you. According to Edelman’s Brand Trust report in 2020, 53% of people say that trusting a brand is the second most important factor when purchasing a new brand, only behind price. Therefore, even though it can be a gamble to openly admit a flaw as your ad tagline, it could also be a great way to humanise your brand and be more likeable to consumers.

 

SOURCES

https://www.theguardian.com/media-network/2015/oct/28/pratfall-effect-brands-flaunt-flaws

https://www.einsteinmarketer.com/pratfall-effect-marketing/

https://www.edelman.co.uk/research/trust-barometer-special-report-brand-trust-2020

Lightbox Loves: Hoping for a Holiday

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Despite holiday booking season thrown into chaos by changing and conflicting government advice, most Brits remain hopeful for a holiday this year.  A certain level of realism remains; most currently hope to follow Matt Hancock for a “Great British summer”. This is evident in booking patterns: last week, Pitchup, an online glamping platform, was 92% up on sales year-on-year. Sales even accelerated after Grant Shapps warned against booking travel. Nonetheless a quarter dream of travelling to Europe and 15% still hope to fly to more distant destinations.

But what are we so keen to escape? What does our hopes for holidays say about us? And with travel still uncertain, how can brands help fulfil these urges?

1) An escape from the day-to-day 

Parents of kids under five are the most hopeful to get away. They are not fussy – their wish to escape is prevalent across all destinations. Over half are looking forward to a UK break. It seems that after a year of childcare issues, working from home and parental leave indoors, they are desperate for any change of scenery. Brands can offer audiences a respite from the stasis with gardening, homewares, and decoration to create a sense of change and renewal. And with Mother’s Day on the horizon, they can consider how they to support mums in much need of a break.

2) An escape for new experiences? 

With record youth unemployment, a disastrous exam season and isolated universities students, it is no surprise that Gen Z are dreaming of flying far, far away. Four in ten 18-24s hope to get out of Europe – ten times the 4% of their Gen X parents’ generation with the same aim. Brands such as John Lewis have tapped into the human need for new experiences, with their online experiences covering everything from dog grooming through to wine tasting. Meanwhile, Audible continue to use the slowdown of international travel to promote their subscription service under the line “fly Audible to travel the world”.

3) An escape to new cultures? 

While Londoners are equally likely to anticipate a staycation, they are the region keenest to leave the country altogether. A third want to escape to Europe and a third wish to go farther still. Used to the world’s cuisine and culture on their doorstep, has lockdown life driven this urge to get abroad?  A rise in themed “culture nights” see some groups pick “destinations” and select food, drinks and entertainment from this country, can brands tap into this trend?  And as out of home leisure re-opens, there may be opportunities for pubs and restaurants to offer more immersive cultural experiences.
With normality of international travel still some time away, brands should think laterally about how they can help provide an escape from the ongoing cabin fever of lockdown life.

Lightbox Loves: Love in Lockdown this Valentine’s Day​

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Lockdown has changed the dating landscape. This Valentine’s Day, candle-lit dinners will be replaced by food deliveries and zoom cocktail-making, cinema trips with Netflix. Yet, with 78% of the UK population saying that they have never had a bad Valentine’s Day experience, this Sunday looks to be a highlight amidst the gloom of the pandemic. 

Since March, digital-first (and digital-only) dating has thrived. A modern turn on the exchanging of love letters, dating apps have had a sudden rise, facilitating long-distance, tier-crossed relationships. On Sunday 29th March, for example, Tinder users made 3 billion swipes worldwide – the most the app has ever recorded in a single day. Likewise, rival Hinge experienced a 30% increase in messages (compared to January and February) and OkCupid witnessed a 30% increase in messages sent each day. Facebook is also looking to muscle in on the action, having launched its own dating feature in October. 

The way would-be daters are communicating has also changed. Female-first app Bumble added video chat and voice call functionalities in 2019 and, during Lockdown 1.0, reportedly saw use of this function spike 93% with the average call lasting nearly 30 minutes. The service, which boasts almost 90 million users worldwide, also found that users were more unsure of how to date successfully now, with two in three feeling uncomfortable about navigating the complexities of the post-COVID dating world. Yet, there are positives: daters have reported that the pandemic has helped them figure out what really matters to them and believe that they have developed new healthy dating habits. 

Brands looking to woo customers on the 14th should keep in mind these changes. Last year, ‘Amazon Dating’, a parody of the e-commerce site, became an instant internet hit and received over 10,000 applications. Created by conceptual artist Ani Acopian and writer Suzy Shinn, the website replaced products with potential people to ‘buy’, complete with prices and reviews. Meanwhile Twitter took over the London Underground; romantic messaging was cast aside for real, cringe-worthy tweets, honouring the reality of modern dating on Valentine’s Day. 

Whilst the mode has change, the focus on connection remains the same. Now more than ever, brands wishing to align with romance need to have heart.  

 

SOURCES  –
YouGov Profiles
https://www.thedrum.com/news/2020/05/12/love-the-time-coronavirus-dating-apps-buck-the-downward-ad-spend-trend
https://www.forbes.com/sites/abrambrown/2020/04/05/coronavirus-is-changingonline-dating-permanently/?sh=3a7771233b22
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-52743454

How dating apps are innovating with new features in response to coronavirus


The Original Misunderstood Generation – the7stars Whitepaper

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Please download The Original Misunderstood Generation, our latest whitepaper that explores how stereotypes about baby boomers impacts this generation's lifestyles and what this means for the media industry.

     

    Lightbox Loves: Positivity Wins

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    The external factors around Brits right now are predominantly negative, so it is no surprise that they are feeling worried and 69% are feeling anxious at the prospect of returning to ‘normal.’ But Brits are looking to counter act this negativity by seeking to add positivity to their lives, with over two thirds of Brits seeking out positive changes.

    The first example of this was the New Year’s resolutions of 2021. The7stars Lightbox Pulse showed that three quarters of Brits were making New Year’s resolutions that were different to previous years. With the focus of resolutions being centred on adding to their lives rather than restricting them. With people more likely to agree that they were planning to start new healthy or pro-active routines and challenges. This trend looks set to continue beyond January, with Brits intending to continue focussing on positive activities and changes such as, a quarter are looking to a make a life change and a quarter are looking to take on a new challenge. This is paired with half wanting to appreciate what they currently have, no matter how small.

    Positivity doesn’t just come from things or experiences, but also mindset. During lockdown last year consumers enjoyed having a slower pace of life and the ability to spend more time enjoying one thing at a time. In June’s QT, 55% of Brits stated that they were going to miss the slower pace of life. As such, going into this year, it is about having more mindful moments so 28% are focussing more on one thing at a time than before. In doing this, Brits hope to reduce the hectic nature of life and in turn half hope to remove stress from their life where possible.

    In 2021, consumers will be channelling positivity into their lives to counter act the negatives surrounding them. As such there are two ways brands can leverage this, first by acknowledging and championing positivity in communication. The second, is as consumers seek to inject positivity into their lives, they will naturally be re-evaluating the brands they purchase so there is an opportunity to disrupt current brand relationships.

    SOURCES  – Canvas8, the7stars Lightbox Pulse, the7stars QT

    Lightbox Loves: Mental Fitness

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    It’s safe to say that 2020 was a testing year for mental health. After a taxing year, tending to our emotional wellbeing has been crucial, as more and more people are having mental health resolutions parallel to physical fitness ones.

    Demand for mental wellness apps has increased during the pandemic, as people strive to find innovative fixes to beat lockdown blues. In 2020, Calm, an app which provides its users with guided meditations, saw a total of 60 million downloads – an increase of 20 million from 2019 (Business of Apps, 2020). Headspace, founded in London and Calm’s biggest competitor, also saw a surge of over 500% in interest from companies last year, as an ever-growing list of industries sought mental health support for their employees (CNBC, 2020). These trends are likely to stick around long after lockdown ends: a Headspace survey found that 53% of workers believe mental health benefits are now essential (Headspace, 2020).

    Emily Anhalt, co-founder of Coa – one of the world’s first mental health gyms, which offers meditation classes, mindfulness sessions and therapy – says that we are beginning to think of “emotional fitness [in] the same proactive way we work on our physical fitness.” Likewise, Dan Harris, author of 10% Happier, believes that ‘mental fitness’ is an exciting concept because it challenges outdated mindsets that happiness is something that just happens – rather, Harris shows, it is a skill that you train through meditation and mindfulness.

    With more people engaging with mental health support, and organisations pushing wellness apps, society may finally be making progress towards dismantling deeply rooted mental health stigmas. Going forward, it is important for us all to recognise that mental health is inextricably connected to physical health – we need to work on both as part of our regular routine, even when we are having a good day.

    https://www.cnbc.com/2020/10/10/covid-stress-companies-turn-to-virtual-therapy-meditation-apps.html

    https://www.businessofapps.com/data/calm-statistics/

    https://www.headspace.com/wmhd-guidehttps://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/mental-health-care-2021

    Lightbox Loves: A fresh start?

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    A new year is often a prime opportunity to pause, reflect and welcome in a fresh start. Whilst it might feel that 2021 has not yet brought us the changes we all hoped for, this is not stopping us from wanting to strive over the months ahead.

    Almost 1 in 3 of us have made New Year’s Resolutions for 2021, with 1 in 10 claiming to be doing so for the very first time (LightboxPulse, 2021). However, these goals and resolutions are not ground-breaking nor transformative but instead typical of what we see every new year, or simply building on new positive habits gained during the lockdowns of 2020. Of those setting goals for 2021, keeping up or starting new exercise routines remains a top priority (53%, YouGov 2020), which will help the likes of Joe Wicks and Peloton continue their successes from last year. Furthermore, saving money is also top of our agenda (39%, YouGov 2020), despite 2021 already causing employment disruption for thousands of Brits. This resolution is also likely to be founded on momentum gained in 2020, with 2 in 3 Brits reported to have saved an average of £7k over the course of 2020 (or £15k if you live in London), thanks to reduced outgoings during lockdown (Moneysupermarket.com, 2020).

    However, what has jumped up the ranks this year is setting goals around being with loved ones. Out of those who have made resolutions, 1 in 4 have cited spending time with family as a goal for 2021, up 11% pts from 2020 (YouGov, 2020). Whether setting goals or not, 1 in 5 Brits have simply said that any immediate focus will be on being kind to themselves and those around them, further highlighting that this will not be the year of radical transformation (LightboxPulse, 2020).

    After a difficult year, where families were forced apart for months on end, it is not a surprise to see some new goals that are more emotionally driven. Brands who continue to communicate these emotions with empathy, instead of the ‘new year, new you’ messaging we’re used to seeing, is likely to engage during this period of extended uncertainty and challenge.

    Lightbox Loves: The Spirit of the Season

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    Considering the year we’ve been through, it wouldn’t be hard to believe if goodwill were in short supply this Christmas season. In fact, 56% of Brits surveyed in our November QT said that they are less happy this year than they were last year (the QT, the7stars). The good news is, not even 2020 could dampen our charitable feelings during the most wonderful time of the year.

    More than half of Brits are currently planning to maintain or increase their donations to charity (the QT, the7stars). The tireless efforts of charities to address the nation’s most pressing challenges, from health to hunger to homelessness, has helped to shore up confidence in a year when faith in institutions has crumbled. Charities are the third most trusted institution in the nation, after the NHS and the police, while the government and the financial system lag far behind (the QT, the7stars). People are putting their confidence, and their pounds, where they know they can make a positive difference.

    This year may even have changed our outlook on presents – for the better. According to YouGov, 60% of Brits would be happy to receive a charitable donation in their name instead of a present this year (YouGov, 2020). Those who are shopping for gifts are also spending more conscientiously. Because of the pandemic, 52% of people have changed the way they shop online, including buying more second-hand items (Canvas8, 2020). A further 65% of Brits plan to carry on with the local shopping habit they have established, regardless of having restrictions or not (Canvas8, 2020).

    A further testament to the strength of people’s charitable feelings is the positive response to brand campaigns that have tapped into this sentiment. From Papa John’s to M&S, brands are stepping up their support for charities this Christmas. John Lewis’s ‘Give a Little Love’ advert focused on kindness rather than gift-giving, and has seen a bigger increase in their consideration score than ‘Excited Edgar’ did last year (YouGov, 2020). Walkers’ ‘Sausage CaRoll’ TV and social campaign, starring YouTuber LadBaby and raising money for The Trussell Trust, has driven a word-of-mouth increase of 8.6 points among their key 18-34-year-old audience (YouGov, 2020). Although brands and companies on the whole have taken a hit in confidence levels alongside other institutions this year, they will do well if they remember that kindness isn’t just for Christmas, it’s for life.

    Lightbox Loves: The Best of 2020 (Yes, There Were Good Parts)

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    The excitement over the end of Lockdown 2.0 was overshadowed by another much-anticipated event last week: the release of Spotify’s Wrapped 2020. Racking up more than 43,000 mentions on social in just two days, it’s safe to say that it has become a mainstay of the end-of-year events calendar (Brandwatch, 2020). However, Spotify Wrapped is just part of a long tradition of making ‘Best of the Year’ lists. From The Rolling Stone’s 50 Best Albums of 2020 to The Guardian’s Best Books of 2020, just about every form of entertainment is covered. We decided to take a look at why these lists might be especially important to us this year.

    Looking back, happy and comforting memories has been a key theme throughout 2020. During the first lockdown, the7stars and YouGov found that a quarter of Brits were feeling most nostalgic for moments within the preceding 12 months, compared to any other time of their lives (the7stars.) When asked what helped them feel fondly about the past, 41% of people said listening to old music and 37% said watching old TV shows. We have all experienced the transportive powers of music, films or books associated with a particular place or time in our memories.

    You could also say that we have all become greater arts and culture aficionados this year, as it provided much of our company and entertainment during lockdowns. Over Lockdown 2.0, entertainment usage was up across the board: 42% of people used TV and film streaming services more often, 25% streamed more music, 23% listened to more radio and 21% listened to more audiobooks and podcasts (the QT, the7stars.) This year, we might see the critics’ Best Of lists as affirmations of our good tastes (rather than reproaches for all the books we didn’t find time to read).

    Collective list writing is also an act of community-building. Spotify exemplifies this well. On the one hand, the Wrapped list is a collection of our personal data and a reflection of our unique music and podcast listening habits. It makes us feel special (that moment of pride when you’re in the top 0.01% of fans of your favourite band), but it also makes us feel part of something bigger when we share it on Twitter or see Spotify’s data about our community posted on OOH.

    Our obsession with the recent past says a lot about how we felt this year, but the way we look back also raises some questions about how we will move forward. As Spotify shows, brands who can get meaningfully involved in these conversations will win the hearts of consumers.